Issue Task Forces
Linda J. Slavik
Office Wish List
Hit Counter started 7/1/01
LAC’s Affordable Housing Task Force has organized a
broad affordable housing campaign over the last few years that has successfully
made affordable housing a major issue in the 32nd, 43rd
and 44th Wards. The
campaign, named “Room For All,” is broad in scope to allow us to build a
large affordable housing constituency, and has worked mainly through two
Over the past five years LAC has organized for the
preservation and creation of affordable homes for more than 1,200 low and
moderate-income households. LAC campaigns have saved five apartment buildings
and created new affordable housing for seniors.
In 2000-2001, LAC organized a massive interfaith
campaign that won the preservation of Rienzi Plaza, a 300 unit mixed-use
building with over 150 project-based Section 8 units, through a five-year
extension of their contract. Our
campaign at Rienzi also worked to pass Class S, legislation geared toward
preserving buildings like Rienzi across the City.
Last year, we won a 16 year extension at Webster House, a mixed-use
project based Section 8 building (similar to Rienzi Plaza) that is the first
building of its kind in the nation to test a new HUD ruling to allow owners to
opt out of there contract early if they refinance their mortgage.
We also collaborated with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC) to ensure
the passage of the Federally Assisted Housing Preservation Act, which gives
Section 8 tenants more control over the sale of their property and opportunity
to buy it themselves or ensure that a new owner will keep it affordable.
As a founding member of the citywide Balanced
Development Coalition we have been extremely active in the campaign to pass a
citywide set-aside ordinance. The
ordinance calls for all new residential developments, substantial rehabs, and
condo conversions of 10 or more units to designate 15% of the units as
affordable to low-income families.
In June 2003 we organized a Citizens’ Action
Assembly on affordable housing with over 450 leaders in attendance from our
three wards. We won specific
housing policy commitments from two Aldermen, focusing on affordable set-asides,
which enabled us to secure Alderman Tunney’s sponsorship of the city-wide
set-aside ordinance in 2004. In
addition, we have since secured commitments from Aldermen Tunney, Daley and
Matlak (all the aldermen in our wards) to enforce set-aside policies in their
Health Care has always been an important issue for
LAC. In the last three years, LAC has built or renewed relationships with area
legislators, many of whom serve on key health committees in Springfield.
As part of United Power for Action & Justice, LAC leaders played a
front-line role in the campaign to insure 200,000 low-income parents by
expanding the state’s KidCare program into “FamilyCare.”
In the last year, clergy from several of our United
Church of Christ (UCC) and Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)
congregations have worked with “debtor” patients to lead the effort through
LAC to reform unjust discriminatory pricing and predatory debt collection
practices at Advocate Illinois Masonic Hospital in Lakeview.
Discriminatory pricing is the practice of charging people without
insurance (and the least ability to pay) higher sticker prices than those with
insurance. Predatory debt
collection is when hospitals aggressively seek the payments of debts, often at
the expense of a family’s livelihood.
These practices, while common by most hospitals, are
practiced more aggressively within the Advocate system, most notably at Advocate
Illinois Masonic Medical Center (IMMC). For example, in Cook County, hospitals sue patients for an
average of 4% of the amount of outstanding bad debt owed to the hospital.
At Advocate North side, which includes Masonic and Ravenswood Hospital,
they sued for nearly 42% of the bad debt on its books, or more than ten times
the average. In the last year we
· Transformed the Bel-Ray Apartments, a 70-unit SRO building at 3150 N. Racine Ave., from a poorly managed hotel to quality low-income housing that links tenants to social services and jobs.
· Saved 712 W. Diversey from gentrification. The U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development planned to auction the building to the highest bidder until LAC intervened, forging a plan which will keep the 90-unit building affordable for a mix of low- and moderate-income residents.
· Partnered with the Jane Addams Senior Caucus and Interfaith Housing Development Corporation to create Ruth Shriman House (4040 N. Sheridan Rd.) a unique 83-unit apartment building for low and moderate-income senior citizens. The building, designed with seniors input, opened in 1999.
· Led a broad-based campaign in support of St. Alphonsus Parish that enabled the parish to overcome opposition and to lease its former convent to Deborah's Place, which now uses the building as a transitional residence for 30 formerly homeless women.
· Formed a new tenants' union at Belmont Tower, a 276-unit apartment building at 510 W. Belmont Ave., which blocked an attempt by the building's owner to eliminate affordable Section 8 rents.
· Blocked the sale of the Diplomat Hotel at 3208 N. Sheffield, a 105-unit SRO for low-income tenants
· Prompted the Chicago Police Department to create a permanent nighttime bike patrol as part of a project to reduce hate crimes and improve community policing in Lakeview and North Center. Hate crimes were reduced by 50% in Lakeview and North Center in the first year of the project.
· Won a 5-year renewal of Section 8 status for Rienzi Plaza at 600 W. Diversey to preserve 148 project-based Section 8 units
· Won the expansion of Cook County Class 9 tax break, an incentive for developers to build or rehab affordable housing. The tax break was formerly only available in low and moderate-income census tracts
· Created the Lakeview North Center Schools Alliance Against Hate, a unique partnership between LAC and local public and private schools working together to promote new initiatives on teaching an exploring the issues of diversity and tolerance in the schools.
· Played a frontline role through United Power for Action and Justice in the on-going campaign to expand affordable healthcare to low-income families through FamilyCare in Illinois. Helped create a dental van for homeless youth and adults, and partnered with SRO tenants to create a smoking cessation at the Belray, a Lakefront SRO building
commitments from Alderman Tom Tunney, 44th Ward to support a
mandatory city-wide set-aside ordinance. We are working to win a commitment
from Alderman Vi Daley, 43rd Ward, and Alderman Ted Matlak, 32nd